Archive for the ‘In the Press’ Category
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Here are some more powerful ideas from the book “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable” by Tim Grover.
- Being relentless means never being satisfied. It means creating new goals every time you reach your personal best. If you’re good, it means you don’t stop until you’re great. If you’re great, it means you fight until you are unstoppable.
- Greatness makes you a legend; being the best makes you an icon. If you want to be great, deliver the unexpected. If you want to be the best, deliver a miracle.
- Why do I call them (ultimate competitors) Cleaners? Because they take responsibility for everything. When something goes wrong, they don’t blame others because they never really count on anyone else to get the job done in the first place. They just clean up the mess and move on.
- Failure is never an option; even if it takes years, he’ll find a way to turn a bad situation to his benefit, and he won’t stop until he succeeds.
- You don’t have to love the work to be successful; you just have to be relentless about achieving it.
- All that matters is the end result, not the instant gratification along the way.
- If you want to be the very best of the best, it’s the details that make the difference.
- You train like a pro by committing to work at the highest level of intensity, every moment, in everything you do, constantly working on your body, your skills, your preparation, leaving no detail to chance.
- The true measure of an individual is determined by what you can’t measure – the intangibles. Anyone can measure weight, height, physical strength, speed. . . . but you can’t measure commitment, persistence, or the instinctive power of the muscle in your chest, your heart. That’s where your true work begins; understanding what you want to achieve and knowing what you’re willing to endure to get it.
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
Last night my wife and I went and watched the movie “42” while in Phoenix and was disappointed that there were only a handful of viewers. There are great lessons in the movie for everyone but especially for athletes. In fact, I really think that every coach and athlete, regardless of age or gender or sport should go watch “42.”
Of course the movie only tells part of the real Jackie Robinson story. For example, Jackie competed in four sports – including basketball - in high school, junior college, and then at UCLA.
Football was probably his best sport although he did win an NCAA Championship in the long jump. Surprisingly, baseball was his weakest sport and he turned out to be a much better pro player than he was in college.
After World War II ended Jackie spent a year as the men’s basketball coach at Sam Houston College in Texas before joining the Kansas City Monarchs, which is where the movie “42″ starts telling his story.
I know it sounds silly but knowing that he had a basketball background both as a player and a coach has made me feel even more connected to him and the things that he experienced.
I realize that Jackie Robinson went through more adversity that first year in major league baseball than anyone should ever have to experience, but after leaving the theater I couldn’t help but think that we all owe Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, some gratitude as well.
There were several African American athletes who were capable and willing to be the first baseball player to break the color barrier but there was only one owner willing to give someone that opportunity.
I don’t know what Branch Rickey’s ulterior motives were and truthfully I don’t care. All I know is that every sport, including the one that I love the most, has benefitted from his decision.
Thank you Jackie Robinson. Thank you Branch Rickey.
Sunday, April 7th, 2013
About five years ago, Louisville coach Rick Pitino wrote a book called “The Rebound Rules” which offers a great deal of advice on how to make a comeback after facing life’s difficulties and how to pick yourself up after being knocked down.
As you read the following excerpt from the chapter entitled Gaining Perspective, think of Louisville player Kevin Ware and how he is handling the tragic injury he suffered last week.
- Tragedy will test you like nothing else. Keep your faith and rely on it to help you through – even if you’re questioning it at the time.
- Let your emotions out and work through them. Catharsis is necessary to avoid bitterness.
- Turn your grief into good. Let your hard earned new perspective be the catalyst to a more humble, charitable you.
- Don’t demand answers tot he inexplicable. Sometimes there are none.
- Don’t miss the lessons you can learn in these trying moments. A child’s act of grace can teach you so much.
- Don’t marinate in bitterness or preoccupy yourself with revenge. Both are unproductive.
Image Source: abcnews.go.com
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
Despite all the excitement and enthusiasm that teams like Florida Gulf Coast and LaSalle have generated over the past several days, all news coming from the NCAA Tournament has not been good.
In the past two days UCLA’s Ben Howland and Minnesota’s Tubby Smith have been fired from their jobs for supposedly underachieving. Howland, who had previously taken the Bruins to three Final Fours, guided UCLA to this year’s regular season Pac 12 Championship.
Smith, who won an NCAA Championship while at Kentucky, took over an abysmal Minnesota program and brought it back to respectability if not national prominence. The Gophers were ranked as high as #8 earlier in the season and beat teams such as Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Indiana.
Both UCLA and Minnesota made it to the NCAA Tournament as “at-large” picks, something that even Kentucky could not do this year. Both UCLA and Minnesota chose to pay out millions of dollars in buy out clauses than keep their coaches, which has to make me wonder if there is something going on behind the scenes that no else knows about.
Anyway, here’s some sound advice that Tubby Smith once shared with author Pat Williams:
- Be very involved with your players. Be able to adapt to your personnel.
- Have a plan and work it. From top to bottom, everyone has to know what the goals are for your team.
- Be highly organized and prioritize your schedule. Good time management is essential.
- Do what it takes to be successful. You’ve got to have an outstanding work ethic to stay ahead of the competition.
- You’ve got to have a sound philosophy and a certain image you want to project tot he public.
Thursday, March 14th, 2013
As mentioned here in an earlier post, the use of advanced analytics is becoming more and more popular as teams are constantly looking for effective competitive advantages.
Kirk Goldsberry and Eric Weiss of Harvard University recently presented a paper at the Sports Analytics Conference that summarizes two case studies that they used to measure interior (post) defense in the NBA.
The studies essentially track and measured two things: 1) How many shots were taken when a specific defender was within 5 feet and 2) What were the shooting percentages of those shots.
The results suggest that Dwight Howard of the Lakers is the biggest deterrent in the NBA – opponents just don’t shoot the ball very often when he is in anywhere close to them.
However, Larry Sanders of the Bucks appears to be the best interior defender as opponents only make 34.9% of their shots whenever he is within 5 feet of them.
On the other end of the spectrum, offensive players shoot 54.2% when Anderson Varejao is “protecting” the basket.
While this information may not apply directly to your own team, it does give us another way to evaluate post defense -are our post players good defenders, bad defenders, or deterrents?
To see the entire Goldsberry and Weiss paper and to dive into more basketball studies similar to this one visit Sloan Sports Conference.
Monday, March 11th, 2013
The following post was taken directly from an email newsletter distributed by Janssen Sports Leadership and certainly applies to basketball teams, coaches, and players everywhere.
Arkansas Softball has taken to heart a story about two dogs. As the story goes:
A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life… He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two dogs. One dog is evil – he is fearful angry, jealous, and negative.
The other is good – he is happy, peaceful, positive, and content. The grandchildren thought about it for a minute, and then one asked his grandfather, “Which dog will win, Grandfather?”
The Elder smiled and replied, “Whichever dog you feed.”
The moral of the story obviously is to choose to feed your mind a steady diet of positive and productive thoughts instead of the negative and destructive ones that often are starving for your attention.
To emphasize this positive approach and put a Razorback twist to it, Arkansas softball coach Mike Larabee has painted the words “Feed the Positive
Hog” on their dugout wall. He also made silicon bracelets with the mantra on it for everyone to wear.
How can you too use stories that convey and reinforce key messages to your team?
Saturday, March 9th, 2013
There’s been a lot of talk recently about NCAA coaches using advanced analytics to improve the performances of their teams.
In the latest edition of ESPN The Magazine, the University of Florida’s Bill Donovan talks at length about the importance of measuring and emphasizing his team’s DER (defensive efficiency rating) which reflects points per possession.
Donovan firmly believes (and has the stats to back it up) that his team cannot count on advancing in the NCAA Tournament unless the Gators have a DER below 0.9.
To emphasize this number in practice, Coach Donovan puts a group on defense for six straight possessions with the stipulation that they can’t allow a total of six points, which would translate to a DER of under 1.0.
If they allow only five points or fewer the defense gers to move to offense and a new defense steps onto the court.
If they allow six points or more, the defense has to run and then get back on defense for another six possessions.
“It’s about trying to get our guys to understand the mentality of moving from one play to the next,’”says Donovan.
“Let’s say you’ve given up three points in five possessions – that’s okay.
But now you can’t allow a three on that last one. All of a sudden you’re simulating a real endgame situation.”
While most of us may not have the rsources to use all the advanced analytics that the major NCAA programs have, we can certainly measure our DER and use it to strengthen our defensive presence.
Monday, March 4th, 2013
At the apex of John Wooden’s famous Pyramid of Success sits “Competitive Greatness,” which is defined as “performing at your best when your best is required.”
No better definition can be found to describe the performance that Duke’s Ryan Kelly turned in during Saturday’s 79-76 win against Miami.
Kelly, who had not played since injuring his foot on January 8th, dominated the game with 36 points including 7-9 from behind the three point line.
Not bad for a guy averaging 13 points a game! Even more impressive than the numbers themselves is the fact that Duke needed every single point that Kelly produced.
Near the end of January Miami buried Duke by 27 points and may very likely have done it again without Kelly’s heroics.
Duke’s loss to Virginia Tech last Thursday had nearly everybody in the country writing off the Blue Devils for the rest of the year.
Now thanks to Ryan Kelly and the victory over Miami, Duke has received a huge infusion of confidence and has an outstanding chance of getting a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
On Saturday Ryan Kelly was a living example of Competitive Greatness as he performed at his best when his best was required.
John Wooden would have been proud!
Sunday, March 3rd, 2013
Frank Burilson, one of the most respected basketball writers in the country was recently asked to vote on the top NCAA Tournament players of all time.
Even though he could vote for anyone he wanted, Frank chose to vote only for players that he had personally seen play.
As a result, tournament superstars such as Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, and Bill Russell were left off of his list.
Here is Frank Burlison’s “Top 15.” (If you want to read his rationale for choosing these players go to coachgeorgeraveling.com) The list is in alphabetical order.
- Kareem Abdul Jabbar (UCLA)
- Larry Bird (Indiana State)
- Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
- Patrick Ewing (Georgetown)
- Darrell Griffith (Louisville)
- Magic Johnson (Michigan State)
- Michael Jordan (North Carolina)
- Christian Laettner (Duke)
- Danny Manning (Kansas)
- Joakim Noah (Florida)
- Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston)
- Isiah Thomas (Indiana)
- David Thompson (NC State)
- Bill Walton (UCLA)
- Sydney Wicks (UCLA)
What do you think – did Frank get it right? We would love to hear your opinion!
Friday, March 1st, 2013
Years ago when legendary coach Dick Bennett accepted the head coaching job at Washington State University he said something at the press conference that had many peole shaking their heads.
Coach Bennett said that he had his work cut out for him and needed to recruit guys that he could lose with before they would start winning.
What he meant by that was that there was going to be some rough spots ahead no matter who was in his first recruiting class.
Knowing that, he needed guys who were going to keep working hard, who were going to remain loyal and who would never abandon ship when things got tough.
In the next couple months many coaches are going to start rebuilding their programs for a variety of reasons.
They will have to decide on which incoming players to keep in the program and which to turn away.
If that happens to be you, consider keeping the ones you can lose with first.
(If you are a player reading this are you the type of person your coach can count on no matter what? If not, you might find yourself without a team!)